Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?
AbstractIn the history of technological development, why didn't other regions keep up with Europe? This is an important question, as one learns almost as much from failure as from success. The one civilization that was in a position to match and even anticipate the European achievement was China. China had two chances: first, to generate a continuing, self-sustaining process of scientific and technological advance on the basis of its indigenous traditions and achievements; and second, to learn from European science and technology once the foreign "barbarians" entered the Chinese domain in the sixteenth century. China failed both times. What explains the first failure? I stress the role of the market: the fact that enterprise was free in Europe while China lacked a free market and institutionalized property rights; that in Europe innovation worked and paid, while the Chinese state was always stepping in to interfere with private enterprise. As for the second failure, China's cultural triumphalism combined with petty downward tyranny made it a singularly bad learner.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hartwell, Robert, 1966. "Markets, Technology, and the Structure of Enterprise in the Development of the Eleventh-Century Chinese Iron and Steel Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 29-58, March.
- Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011.
"Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations,"
NBER Working Papers
17640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2011-16, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2012. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," IZA Discussion Papers 6319, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Center for Development Economics 2011-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
- Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-15, Department of Economics, Williams College.
- Litina, Anastasia, 2012.
"Unfavorable land endowment, cooperation, and reversal of fortune,"
39702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Anastasia Litina, 2012. "Unfavorable Land Endowment, Cooperation, and Reversal of Fortune," CREA Discussion Paper Series 12-07, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
- Litina, Anastasia, 2013. "Unfavorable Land Endowment, Cooperation, and Reversal of Fortune," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 113, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
- Yusuf, Shahid, 2007. "From creativity to innovation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4262, The World Bank.
- Aoki, Masahiko, 2012. "The Five-Phases of Economic Development and Institutional Evolution in China and Japan," ADBI Working Papers 340, Asian Development Bank Institute.
- Taylor, Mark Zachary & Wilson, Sean, 2012. "Does culture still matter?: The effects of individualism on national innovation rates," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 234-247.
- Yu, J. & Nijkamp, P., 2008. "China’s prospects as an innovative country: an industrial economics perspective," Serie Research Memoranda 0009, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
- Brian Snowdon, 2008. "Towards a Unified Theory of Economic Growth," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 9(2), pages 97-151, April.
- Guanzhong Wen, 2011. "Why was china trapped in an agrarian society? An economic geographical approach to the needham puzzle," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 507-534, December.
- Mueller, Dennis C., 2011. "Entrepreneurship and Growth," Ratio Working Papers 170, The Ratio Institute.
- Rafael, Dobado-González & Alfredo, García-Hiernaux & David, Guerrero-Burbano, 2013.
"West versus East: Early Globalization and the Great Divergence,"
48773, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Rafael Dobado-González & Alfredo García-Hiernaux & David Guerrero-Burbano, 2013.
"West versus East: Early globalization and thr great divergence
[Oeste frente a Este: Globalización temprana y gran divergencia]," Documentos de trabajo de la Facultad de Ciencias EconÃ³micas y Empresariales 13-08, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales.
- Rafael Dobado-González & Alfredo García-Hiernaux & David Guerrero-Burbano, 2013. "West versus East: Early globalization and thr great divergence
- Masahiko Aoki, 2011. "The Five-Phases of Economic Development and Institutional Evolution in China and Japan," Development Economics Working Papers 23196, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.